WHEN: fifteen years post movie
PAIRING: Roy & Alexandria
WORD COUNT: 1570
DISCLAIMER: Characters are not mine, I'm just playing with them.
Fifteen years after the story about five bandits, Alexandria falls again. She's not a child anymore, so they put her in what used to be Roy's wing, in his actual bed. It's comforting in a weird way but it also makes her miss him more. He was certain she would get over their friendship, but she never did. She missed him and worried about him, and it did not lessen with time; when she was a child it was easier to believe that he got better and went back to shooting movies. Lately, she wonders if he's even still alive, or did he give up when she went away.
Laying in bed late at night, her leg itching under the cast, she vows to look him up as soon as they release her from the hospital. She prays it won't be too late.
It takes longer to recover this time, and it's already fall when she goes into the studio where Roy used to work. Nobody knows what's she talking about and it's not because of her still accented English; Roy never came back to work. It can only mean that he never recovered, and Alexandria feels lightheaded, as if she just stood on her tiptoes, reached for an orange and came back down empty handed.
After the studio, she goes back to the hospital, charms the guy running the archives and spends the entire afternoon going through dusty stacks of papers. She finds Walt's file, puts it away without reading anything in it, then there's her own and finally, there's Roy's. It's thick and she holds it in her hands for a moment, closing her eyes and trying to remember him, but details elude her; she sees only a vague form of the Black Bandit, but that's okay too. Hesitating for just another moment, she takes a deep breath and opens it. There's so many medical terms in it she doesn't understand, but she knows what depression means, knows what suicidal tendencies are, and it's like she's back in bed and he's looking at her with tears in his eyes, telling her that he's got nothing left to live for. Telling her he's half a man. She reads on through a description of a surgery, then another and another and she can see it's hopeless; the doctors just couldn't fix him. The file ends with a release letter, nearly a year after she was already gone. It says that he left the hospital against doctor's advice.
There are 36 Roy Walkers in the Los Angeles directory. Alexandria wonders briefly if this is madness, if she should go back to the plantation, but there's nothing left for her there. Her mother is dead, and she fears it would happen to her too if she stayed; she doesn't want to fall again.
She needs to find Roy, and she needs to find him now, right this second.
Two weeks later she's broke and she has to move out of the motel room she'd been sleeping in. There are 10 Roy Walkers left on her list, and she can only go by three of them before she gives up and goes back to her life, if you could call picking oranges day in and day out a life. She stares at the list of names, praying silently for some kind of sign, something that would point her in the right direction.
The first place she stops by has a ramp going parallel with the stairs leading into the building and Alexandria feels a surge of wild hope that can't be quieted, and takes the stairs two at a time, breathless with anticipation. Every nerve in her body tells her that this is it; this is where he is, this is where she finally finds him.
She stops in front of a door with brass number 4 on it and sets her suitcase down next to her feet. Her hand is trembling when she rings the bell, but there's a smile a mile wide stretching her lips and she has to focus to stop herself from bouncing up and down. She needs to remind herself that she's not five anymore, that Roy may not be what she remembers, what she expects. She may not be what he expects.
Her greatest fear is that he won't want to talk to her at all.
When the door finally swings open, she stands there frozen, looking down at her Black Bandit, the same and not the same, so subtly different that for a moment she thinks all this a dream. There are new lines on his face, no sign of a smile either, only a question in his stormy eyes when he looks up at her.
She breathes his name and starts babbling, uncertain how to explain herself.
It takes just a little while for him to realize who she is, a smile tugging at his lips slowly, his eyes lighting up as he says: „Alexandria the Great“, softly, with gentle teasing that brings her to tears. She's happy, so very happy, but she can't stop herself from crying, and he makes it all worse when he pulls her down in his lap and holds her like a child she's not.
„How did you find me?“, he asks, his voice strained, and she pulls away to check if he's crying too.
„It took a lot of time and awkward exchanges with Roy Walkers that were not you“, she tells him, wiping his tears with her fingers before she puts her arms around him and rests her chin against his shoulder. His hands fist in the material of her shirt and she thinks her heart may beat out of her chest, the way it's racing.
„You didn't forget me“, Roy says, and she relaxes against him, realizing it was meant to be.
She wouldn't have found him otherwise.
He looks at her from across the coffee table, smiling like she never seen him smile before. She realizes that he's at peace with himself now, and knows in her heart that she was the one who saved him, pulled him from the edge.
„So what were you up to all this time,“ he asks her in that low voice, more familiar to her than the voice of her own father.
„Picking oranges“, she answers, unable to stop grinning.
„And what brings you here?“
„I fell,“ she says, and then she's not grinning anymore. It feels like they already had this exact conversation, even though she knows they didn't, not like this.
„And you thought of me.“
„I always think of you“, she says softly, and they're silent for a while, before he finally says: „Me too.“
„And what do you do? My mother told me you were shooting movies again, and I made myself believe her. I watched so many, and after a while, I would see you in each and every one of them.“
„Well, turns out I couldn't do that, so I started writing stories. Something you made me realize I was good at.“
She leans forward in her seat and asks: „What kind of stories?“
„Children's books. Fairy-tales. You know.“
„Did they get published?“
„Of course“, he says with a grin, and she loves this new version of him even more than the old one.
„And our story?“ She asks hesitantly, and he shakes his head.
„That one, I keep to myself.“ He looks at the wall behind her and when she turns around, she sees her drawing framed in the center. She looks back at him and gives him the full extent of her gap-toothed smile.
They don't discuss her future plans, or even what's gonna happen tomorrow; Roy just puts her suitcase on the bed in a spare bedroom and that's that. It's not like she's got anywhere else to go.
It's not like there's anywhere in the world she'd rather be.
„Roy?“, she whispers in the doorway to his room, trembling in her white nightgown, shifting from feet to feet uncertainly.
„Yeah?“, he whispers back, and she doesn't let herself hesitate at all; she pads across the room and snuggles under the covers before he even knows what hit him.
„You can't sleep either?“ she asks him, laying on her side, facing him in the dark like no time has passed at all.
„I'm not used to this much excitement“, he says, his voice reverberating through her like a lost dream. She closes her eyes and imagines his smirk, the way his eyes sparkle when he smiles.
„Tell me our story“, she demands, shifting closer to him, and he puts his arm around her like she's still that girl with twin braids, like they're still in his hospital bed with a sheet separating them from the rest of the world.
„Okay. Close your eyes“, he instructs, and she smiles in the dark, looking up at the starry sky above the Butterfly reef.
„Can you see the stars?“
„Yes“, she says, reaching for his hand in the dark, their fingers entwining as the Indian with a bandaged thigh comes out of the water with some bad news.
When she was a little girl, she once told Roy that she never wanted to get better, because she wanted to stay with him. It took her fifteen years, but she found her way back to him, and this time, she wasn't going anywhere.